This uncommon surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Avarne may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a topographical name for someone who lived in a place where there was an abundance of ferns, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "fearn", fern (a collective noun). The forms with voiced initial consonant (V-) represent south western dialects of Middle English (see below). Topographical surnames were among the earliest created as both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Frequently written with the preposition "atte", at the Verne or Fern, the "atte" was gradually reduced leaving the form "Avern(e), Averyn" and "Avarne". The second possibility is that Avarne is of Old French origin, and a locational name from the province of Auvergne in South Central France. On January 18th 1573, Robert Averyn and Annes Allybone were married at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and on June 21st 1741, Weston Avarne, an infant, was christened at Borden, Kent. The latter name appears variously as "Avern" (1702), and "Avarn" (1726) in Germany, and as "Averna" (1822) in Italy. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General" and depicts a blue fess on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry atte Verne, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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